Most significant common cars of, lets call it the "Modern" period

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+1 on the Hellcats. While everyone else was downsizing engines, FCA just said “screw it, MOPOWAH BABY!” and gave us glorious, tire shredding machines that sound like the gates of Hell opening up. And now you can have it in a coupe, sedan, 2 row crossover, 3 row crossover, or a pick up truck.
 
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+1 on the Hellcats. While everyone else was downsizing engines, FCA just said “screw it, MOPOWAH BABY!” and gave us glorious, tire shredding machines that sound like the gates of Hell opening up. And now you can have it in a coupe, sedan, 2 row crossover, 3 row crossover, or a pick up truck.
Hellcats are a silly, immature, ostentatious step backwards from technology and progress. Which is precisely why people adore them. Understandably so.
 
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I think the first generation Saturns are significant as GM's attempt to battle the imports. Certainly unique for their plastic door panels and fenders, and the lost foam casting process for their engines.
 

Ws6

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There are many other contenders, lets hear your thoughts.

This started off as a discussion between a few car friends and I over drinks...maybe too many, hence the results.

What were the most impactful cars or models over the past say ~60 years? By impactful, or significant we meant not exotics or halo cars, prototypes, etc., not even good or exciting vehicles, but those that had a lasting impact on the industry, good or bad. We intentionally left off the early Japanese vehicles from the import invasion, that can be another day's discussion.

Here are our few, in no particular order;

BMW 2002
The car that pretty much created the sporty sedan/coupe category and showed that a car could be quick, nimble, fun, safe (for the time), reliable and practical. It made BMW in the US...yes they had sold Isettas, sedans and beautiful, expensive coupes, but the 2002 really broadened their appeal. Put this first as the conversation began as we were standing around one while I installed a new coil.

Ford Mustang
Made the pony car category; pretty, affordable, and developed into some darn impressive performance machines. Fanatical following and the name has survived despite some really low points in the mid 70's and early 80's.

Chrysler Minivans
The must have family vehicle of the early 80's. You could argue they helped save Chrysler. Screamed practicality (or suburban stupor, depending on your perspective :) ) Affordable, again practical, early ones weren't that safe (believe they were classified as vans...didn't think they had to meet passenger car standards at first, but I could be wrong) and generated huge margins for the manufacturers. Marketing folks nailed this one, and the one below.

Ford Explorer
The must have family vehicle from the early 90's and alternative for those who just couldn't stomach a minivan. Created the modern SUV, suburban assault vehicle category as the mandatory family hauler for those treacherous excursions from the house to ball field, school and Whole Foods. For this Ford should be honored or vilified, your choice... There were earlier SUV's; Bronco, Range Rover, Jeeps, but none had the Explorers impact.

Jeep Wrangler/Chevrolet Corvette/Porsche 911
Three vehicles that have generally stayed as true to their roots. All have soldiered on and gotten better and changed to keep up with regulations and consumer tastes, but are still what they started out as. Yes they have gotten a bit softer and larger, but so have we.

Thoughts??
Add the Ford Ranger/B2200, Rav4 and CRV, and Corvette and Viper to your list. Also, the acura nsx and miata.
 
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First gen 12v cummins dodge pickups 89-93, ushered in the era of turbo diesel in pickups and probably saved the dodge pickup line from extinction. The 12v is arguably the greatest pickup truck engine of all time.
 
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I think probably the Porsche Cayenne.

Along with the Boxster it saved Porsche, but more than that, it sent the trend of fast and luxurious SUVs in motion...
 
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From an SUV standpoint I would say the Jeep Cherokee XJ and the 1960's Jeep Wagoneer. XJ was the first unibody SUV, and the Wagoneer was the first real family SUV back in the 1960s and 1970s. They bridged the gap between the pickup truck and the station wagon, and were marketed as "family wagons with 4WD". Back in the late 1990's Jeep Cherokees and Grand Cherokees were everywhere. I think there were more of them than there were any other SUV at least in New England. You could throw a rock in a parking lot and hit 20 of them. These vehicles (including the Explorer and Blazer) are what really started the "mini-SUV" craze.

From the truck side of things I think a big game changer was the Ford Super Duty, especially with the 7.3L diesel. Diesel hadn't really been so popular until that engine came around, and I think the super duty is what led to the market we have today for large pickup trucks that can tow and haul what only large commercial trucks could back in the day. You can get a Super Duty, Silverado HD, Ram Heavy Duty, etc now and tow a backhoe on a gooseneck trailer. Nobody would ever dream of doing that with a pickup truck in the not so distant past.

For cars I think the Prius is undeniably a significant vehicle. With it's bold shape, cult following, and impressive economy it was polarizing in more ways than one. I think it also pushed other manufacturers to up their mpg game, especially for compact cars.
 
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Honda Accord. The car that taught the world how to build an affordable, reliable, & comfortable mainstream sedan.
Ford Mustang - America's iconic pony car
Ford F-150 40+ year sales leader in the full-size truck segment
VW Beetle - Affordable, reliable transportation for the masses, with a cult following that goes back 80+ years
Chevy Corvette - America's halo sports car
Porsche 911 - Evolution of a sports car theme with roots going back more than 50 years
Jeep Wrangler - Embodies the entire identity of the Jeep brand; America's off-roader with roots leading back to WWII
Lexus LS - A youngster compared to most others on this list; re-defined the world's idea of what a luxury sedan should be
Mazda Miata - Re-defined the 2-seater sports car by adding quality and reliability to the segment.
Acura NSX - The Japanese exotic that forced the Italians and Germans to up their ergonomics & build quality game
 
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From an SUV standpoint I would say the Jeep Cherokee XJ and the 1960's Jeep Wagoneer. XJ was the first unibody SUV, and the Wagoneer was the first real family SUV back in the 1960s and 1970s. They bridged the gap between the pickup truck and the station wagon, and were marketed as "family wagons with 4WD". Back in the late 1990's Jeep Cherokees and Grand Cherokees were everywhere. I think there were more of them than there were any other SUV at least in New England. You could throw a rock in a parking lot and hit 20 of them. These vehicles (including the Explorer and Blazer) are what really started the "mini-SUV" craze.

From the truck side of things I think a big game changer was the Ford Super Duty, especially with the 7.3L diesel. Diesel hadn't really been so popular until that engine came around, and I think the super duty is what led to the market we have today for large pickup trucks that can tow and haul what only large commercial trucks could back in the day. You can get a Super Duty, Silverado HD, Ram Heavy Duty, etc now and tow a backhoe on a gooseneck trailer. Nobody would ever dream of doing that with a pickup truck in the not so distant past.

For cars I think the Prius is undeniably a significant vehicle. With it's bold shape, cult following, and impressive economy it was polarizing in more ways than one. I think it also pushed other manufacturers to up their mpg game, especially for compact cars.

Dodge and the 6bt cummins would like a word with you good sir! The 7.3 powerstroke came out in response to the cummins.
 

Job

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The Willys Jeepster was way ahead of the compact suv game right after WW2. The Rambler American was an early small car that made people notice large isn’t always better.
 
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Gale Banks' tears of emotions over unboxing the long-gone CT-6 may have been more publishable - still, even if I were the only one seeing it, the old transverse mount, FWD Seville SLS and STS were the convincing last modern full size V8 car.
 
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Ford F-150 40+ year sales leader in the full-size truck segment

Best selling vehicle in the US period for a quite a number of years, at least 20. When the crew cabs came to the half-tons in the early 00s, it accelerated the trend, IMO.

I don't know who put out the first half ton crew cab but it was definitely a trend setter.
 
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From an SUV standpoint I would say the Jeep Cherokee XJ and the 1960's Jeep Wagoneer. XJ was the first unibody SUV, and the Wagoneer was the first real family SUV back in the 1960s and 1970s. They bridged the gap between the pickup truck and the station wagon, and were marketed as "family wagons with 4WD". Back in the late 1990's Jeep Cherokees and Grand Cherokees were everywhere. I think there were more of them than there were any other SUV at least in New England. You could throw a rock in a parking lot and hit 20 of them. These vehicles (including the Explorer and Blazer) are what really started the "mini-SUV" craze.

From the truck side of things I think a big game changer was the Ford Super Duty, especially with the 7.3L diesel. Diesel hadn't really been so popular until that engine came around, and I think the super duty is what led to the market we have today for large pickup trucks that can tow and haul what only large commercial trucks could back in the day. You can get a Super Duty, Silverado HD, Ram Heavy Duty, etc now and tow a backhoe on a gooseneck trailer. Nobody would ever dream of doing that with a pickup truck in the not so distant past.

For cars I think the Prius is undeniably a significant vehicle. With it's bold shape, cult following, and impressive economy it was polarizing in more ways than one. I think it also pushed other manufacturers to up their mpg game, especially for compact cars.

x2. Ford and GM would not have had SUVs if Jeep hadn't gone there first. Ford and GM just softened them up and made them mainstream.

I'd say another milestone was the Cherokee Trailhawk. Till that point, you had your "traditional" Jeeps (Liberty, Grand, Wrangler) that were clearly more off road oriented, more solid feeling, comfortable, but less MPG. Then you had your Compass and Patriot - kind of economy grade, CVT tranny at first, rough 4 cylinder, worse build quality, and not advertised as off road capable (a little, but it was extremely rare to see one with FDII with the skid plates and towhooks). Then came the Cherokee TH - it took the nicer interior of the current Grand, a great V6, great 4WD system with a locker, skid plates, lift, tow hooks, AT tires and combined it with good MPG (compared to the Liberty it replaced) and great comfort. The Renegade and Compass followed a similar formula with their TH variants. This showed that you can have a somewhat off road capable vehicle that doesn't sacrifice a lot compared to a normal crossover. Before, you had to pick if you wanted to go the Xterra/Liberty route or the Escape/Rav4/CRV route. I believe this is what led to Ford coming up with the Bronco sport.
 
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Hellcats are a silly, immature, ostentatious step backwards from technology and progress. Which is precisely why people adore them. Understandably so.
the Hellcat showed the world the peak of modern supercharging technology, we’ve come a long way from janky old heatons.
 
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Still looks like any old Lysholm of IHI. Peak of modern SC technology? Who said so?
 
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the Hellcat showed the world the peak of modern supercharging technology, we’ve come a long way from janky old heatons.
Very true, supercharger efficiency has greatly increased. I was talking about the cars recipe in general. Big blown V8, rear wheel drive, to hell with fuel economy. From a practical standpoint, the base Pentastar is more than enough engine for that car. Making the same car available with more than double the horsepower and torque is absolutely ridiculous. And wonderful.
 
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Lysholm / twin screw were always known for some efficiency that woulde be goode in more stationary engines, but those can have turbochargers. More talent of the transient is with the Roots that don't waste that much on internal compression to then see reexpansion when (mostly) off boost.

Efficiencies are raised all the time and/or shifted around in the maps. That's just one of the reasons why there's quite a choice of the Eatons for example these days. Efficiencies and else can have real peaks. Comparing such can obviously tell next to nothing.
 
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